By Cheryl Ravelo
Filipino males have long been known as “macho,” preferring to go to barbershops rather than to salons for men and women to highlight their masculinity. But in the Internet and Facebook age, macho has given way to “metrosexual,” with aesthetic beauty clinics catering to men sprouting all over urban areas in the Philippines. Most of these clinics spend millions of pesos to get male celebrities and politicians to endorse their services and prove that being vain does not diminish one’s masculinity.
I sent out email requests to almost all major players in the aesthetic beauty industry, but it took about three months to get approvals, and only from a handful of clinics.
My first stop was Flawless, one of the pioneers in the aesthetic beauty industry in the country catering to both men and women. I am not a stranger to beauty centers, but bright pink tiles and couches in the reception area, and the same loud color for attendants’ uniforms could be a shock for most men.
I spent days on the pink couch waiting for male clients who would agree to a few photographs and an interview. A handful of those I met were first-time clients, but most were regular customers.
One Tuesday afternoon, a gentleman entered the clinic dressed in the Filipino formal shirt called a “barong”, black pants and black leather shoes, and headed straight to the reception for a scheduled treatment. He kept glancing at his watch as he waited for an attendant, and kept asking if it was his turn. I introduced myself and asked if he would be willing to be photographed. He begged his way out of photos but willingly answered all my questions, saying he usually goes to the clinic for facials in between meetings or during his lunch hour.